Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paranormal Activity is Real

I knew going into Paranormal Activity that is was not real, and nor was it ever marketed it as such. Apparently other people were not privy to such information.

If you've seen the film, you know it opens with Paramount thanking a family and the San Diego Police Department. These few words prompted an audience member to say to her friend, "So it is true."

Yeah, it's true all right. Just like the Easter Bunny, Jesus and healthcare reform. It's all true and oh-so-frightening.

Audience members were scared, so the film had that going for it. When the film reached its conclusion some people were pissed. Some were puzzled (huge surprise). Others said things like, "Do you feel that noise? It means something is happening." Classic. So in that sense, the film did work.

But it also didn't.

It could have been much scarier. It could have done that without going overboard, too. Instead it went the subtle route (a bold move that showed much restraint) and hoped for the best. That helped sell the picture, but it didn't make it as heart-stopping as it could have had the filmmakers just opted to up the tension a bit.

The real value of the film, to me at least, is not how effective it was or wasn't. It is how the audience reacted to it. From what I saw, the film was wildly successful as it got people talking, made people jumped, and tricked more than one into thinking what they saw on the screen really occurred a few years ago. (One wonders, but ultimately doubts, if these people ever watch the news, as such remarkable footage would have surely made the rounds at some point.) Any film that can evoke such reactions and emotions deserves credit. After all, Premonition did not create such a stir. Nor did Fighting. In that sense, the little movie that could, did. Kudos.

Paranormal Activity is most definitely real ... but only if you believe it.

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